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Teaching Strategies for First Year Teachers

You’re almost there! Your first day as a first year teacher is going to come up fast and you might be feeling slightly overwhelmed. While this can be an overwhelming time, there are several teaching strategies that can help make your first year dynamic. 

Relationships First 

Somewhere, someone may have told you that you shouldn’t smile before Christmas. This is a huge, fat lie. The best teaching strategy you can employ is to start by building good relationships with your students. 

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Having a good relationship does not mean you are their “friend” or you give in all the time. So, what is a good teacher-student relationship? One that is built on trust and understanding. 

You need to make sure your students know the following: 

  • You care about them
  • They can trust you

You can help build strong relationships by: 

  • Introducing yourself and talking about your likes (especially the ones kids will relate to).
  • Allowing students to talk about some of their favorite things through ice breaker games

If you need help with ideas as to how to build relationships with your students, look at blogs, like this one for ideas. In your search, you may also want to look at ways to build good teacher-parent relationships as well. 

When you build a relationship with students, you are building a bridge to good communication. Good communication makes education dynamic. While building strong relationships may take time, students will learn better when they know you have their best interest at heart. 

Creating a Foundation

Depending on the grade you teach, you may have some kiddos who are new to the whole school thing. Regardless of age, all students are new to the whole “you” thing. You are new so everything you do is new to them. To help be successful, set up an organized classroom that has procedures for the little tasks in school such as: 

  • Standing up and sitting down
  • Getting out needed supplies
  • Passing out papers
  • Putting names and dates on papers
  • Lining up 
  • Station rules 
  • Leaving the room 

Along with having procedures for everyday tasks, you’re going to want to have a behavior management plan as well. You should have a plan in place when things don’t go the way you expect them too. Every action has a consequence and a good teaching pedagogy will include creating well-rounded students. In simpler terms, good teachers want their students to be successful in academics but also in their character. 

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Get Creative!

After you’ve laid a foundation for your classroom, you can get your students involved by getting creative with your lesson plans. Using visuals, interactive bulletin boards, and hands-on activities are all good instructional strategies. 

If you ever get “teacher’s block” (which will happen, trust me) don’t be afraid to look at resources on TpT. There are often many ideas for little to nothing and you are helping your fellow teacherprenuer! Another way to use TpT is if you need a jumping off point. You can find year-long bundles in Mrs. Shipley’s Classroom! 

Students are asked to sit in a classroom, usually in a desk, all day, every day. If you allow them to get up and apply skills you are learning about, they will understand the concepts better. 

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Learning Together!

Another instructional strategy you can use in your classroom is collaborative learning.  Collaborative learning allows students to work in groups or teams to dig deeper into your essential question or to create a new project. 

When you allow students to work together, you are teaching them how to: 

  • Communicate
  • Problem solve 
  • Have open minds 
  • Help others 

One of the best parts of this learning strategy is students have the chance to learn the ideas in a new way. There is always going to be a kiddo you can’t quite reach but there’s a chance another student can help him/her. By allowing students to work together, you are giving them that opportunity. 

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Fair is Not Equal 

I feel like the idea that fair is the same is too often used in education. One of the biggest parts of education is differentiating instruction as needed for your class. In your room, you have 20 plus students. While this may be your class, you need to make sure you think of them as more than a collective noun. 

Each person in the room has an individual need when they are learning. Sure we can group them into categories of visual, auditory, and hands-on learners, but there are sub categories that we might not know about. In order to make sure you are helping all of your students, get creative and teach ideas in a variety of ways to ensure everyone has a fair chance to understand the concept. 

Sometimes this can be difficult because our teaching style may not lend itself to a certain learning style. If you find this to be true for you at any time, make sure you don’t hesitate to ask for help. Just as students should collaborate, teachers should as well.  

A Necessary “Evil” 

This last teaching strategy has everything and nothing to do with your students. A good teacher is always seeking to be better; it’s one of the core teaching strategies that you want to hold on to. Attending regular professional development activities can help you get new ideas, meet new people who can help you, and become a more well-rounded teacher. 

Each school district is different. If you don’t know where to find professional develop opportunities, make sure you ask your school secretary (they know everything). To create the most effect, make sure you are signing up for professional development programs that will help you. 

Teaching is a rewarding profession and I am so excited that you are about to join our little group that makes a huge difference. As you enter your first year of teaching, make sure you keep hold of your pedagogy and use some of the teaching strategies above to make your first year dynamic. 

Want to grab a free guide to print out and keep with you during your first year teaching? Click here to download this free guide for first year teachers.

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Farrah

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